Stanislas Idzikowski as Harlequin in La Carnaval, against a dramatic draped background, signed, watercolour, 41 x 28.5cm, mounted, glazed and framed.
Micheál MacLiammoir was a theatrical giant who dominated Irish theatre for over 50 years. He was one of the seminal figures in Irish theatrical history, co-founder, with Hilton Edwards, of Dublin's Gate Theatre - actor, designer, playwright and brilliant raconteur he was very much his own creation. He cut an imposing figure under the spotlight and in real life dressed flamboyantly wearing full make-up at all times and a jet black hairpiece. When he died in 1978 aged 79 The Irish Times wrote that 'Nobody can assess the contribution that Micheál MacLiammoir made to Irish theatre'. Throughout his life MacLiammoir closely guarded the fact that he was not in fact Irish at all but had been born in London. As Alfred Willmore he had been a child actor on the London stage in the company of Noel Coward, he later travelled widely throughout Europe, studying arts and languages, before reaching Ireland where he met his future partner, the actor Hilton Edwards. In 1928 the two men started the world famous Gate Theatre in Dublin and among the early players were James Mason and Orson Welles. MacLiammoir appeared on Broadway in the 1930's and from the 1950's onwards toured the world in an acclaimed one-man show, The Importance of Being Oscar, based on the life of Oscar Wilde. He followed this in 1963 with I Must Be Talking to My Friends, a show about Irish writers, and lastly with Talking About Yeats, his final one man entertainment. On MacLiammoir's death Sir John Gielgud commented "Designer, wit, linguist and boon companion as well as actor, he was a uniquely talented and delightful creature." James Adams sold a work by Micheál MacLiammoir in 2002.